Helpful Info re: Email Scams

Phishing Scams:

You may receive an email from a bank/online service provider/ financial institution that asks you to click a link and visit a website in order to provide personal information. Such an email is more than likely the type of Internet scam known as “phishing”.

A phishing scam is one in which victims are tricked into providing personal information such as account numbers and passwords to what they believe to be a legitimate company or organization. In order to carry out this trick, the scammers often create a “look-a-like” website that is designed to resemble the target company’s official website. Typically, emails are used as “bait” in order to get the potential victim to visit the bogus website. Be wary of any email that asks you to click on a link and provide sensitive personal information such as banking details. Information submitted on these bogus websites is harvested by the scammers and may then be used to steal funds from the user’s accounts and/or steal the victim’s identity.

Most legitimate companies would not request sensitive information from customers via email. DO NOT click on the links in these emails. DO NOT provide any information about yourself. If you have any doubts at all about the veracity of an email, contact the company directly.

General Scam Indicators:

The current Internet scams described above are some of the most common types of Internet fraud. However, these fraudsters are clever people who may use many variations of the above scams to achieve their nefarious ends.

In general, be wary of unsolicited emails that:

  • Promise you money, jobs or prizes
  • Ask for donations
  • Propose lucrative business deals
  • Ask you to provide sensitive personal information
  • Ask you to follow a link to a website and log on to an account.

By taking the time to educate yourself about these common types of scam, and/or by sharing this information with others, you can make a valuable contribution to the war against Internet fraud.

Before forwarding an email, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Does the email ask you to send it to a lot of other people?
  2. Does the email fail to provide confirmation sources?
  3. Is the language used overly emotive or highly technical?

A “yes” answer to one or more of the above questions, should start some alarm bells ringing. These indicators do not offer conclusive evidence that the email is a hoax but they are certainly enough to warrant further investigation before you hit the “Forward” Button.

email hoaxes cover a range of subject matter, including:

  • Supposedly free giveaways in exchange for forwarding emails.
  • Bogus virus alerts.
  • False appeals to help sick children.
  • Pointless petitions that lead nowhere and accomplish nothing.
  • Dire, and completely fictional, warnings about products, companies, government policies or coming events.

© Brett M.Christensen